South Africa is a place where you can truly say that east has met the west. The facilities are that of the west and yet the people are that of the east. As my teacher normally comments that S. Africa is one of the very few countries that can provide drinkable tap water. It is hard to accept but it is very true once you see the actual S. Africa and not the one concocted by your imagination. (At one time I even had a concept of South Africa being a famine stricken land with no water, where I will have to travel a mile to get water for the daily necessities).
In simple terms, South Africa is simply “beautiful”. It has greenery beyond imagination. Green filled mountains envelope the city of Camperdown. It actually reminded me of Western Ontario with valleys and streams. The roads are really good. Those who like to have long drives can enjoy the long stretched Freeway, while those who like the twists and turns may try out the age old smaller hand built roads which seem better than the newer ones.
Let me now focus on our epicenter, the city of Camperdown. When I was searching on the Internet about Camperdown before coming here, I could find nothing about it. I did find a few sites about a Camperdown in Australia which is a resort area. When I arrived here in Camperdown, I realized why it was never on the Internet. Camperdown is a city of almost 2000-2500 people. It is about 65km from Durban, and 25 km from Peitermaritzburg. This is perhaps the most irrelevant information for a single student who will be coming here for studies. However, Camperdown can be pointed out on the map with these directions.
The city is small, yet filled with amazing businesses. If I were to name the ones I can remember they would be:
1. SuperSPAR (A convenience/Grocery store, a bit expensive but since it’s the cheapest in the area it’s best for shopping). Recently it has started to serve Halal chicken. But you need not worry, in other products you can always look for the seal of SANHA (South African National Halal Association) for Halal products. Other Halal Certification Bodies include MJC (Muslim Judicial Council) and Jamiat ul Ulama Halal Certification etc.
2. STAR (Another convenience store run by Muslims, but is more expensive than SPAR. It is good for specific Items. )
3. TOPS Liquor Store (We need not worry about what they sell)
4. Rita’s Fashion …something… (A clothing store with basic clothing. Also have shoes. Run by a Hindu fellow. Nice for cheap slippers and clothing )
5. S.A Parak’s (This is a wholesale shop for the traders. It is run by Uncle Parak a prominent Muslim fellow. They will be moving to another even bigger premise)
6. I. E. Essack & Co. ( Probably the oldest store in the town, run by Uncle Essack, probably the oldest uncle in town … but he is one of the most nicest and prominent of figures of Muslim Community of Camperdown. )
7. Alida Strasberg Estates ( A very nice Jewish lady, who helped me a lot with my apartment, runs a real estate and is very straight forward ).
Other facilities that you might find here would be,
– A couple of lawyers and Attorneys
– A Veterinarian
– A Court
– A Police Station
– A Halal Take-out (burgers and chips etc)
– 3 Auto-Garage
– A Wood Furniture store
– A Library
– A Taxi Rank
– The Post Office
– An Internet Cafe
– KFC (However it is not certified by our Ulama, hence is considered doubtful. All students are advised strongly that they should not use this outlet)
– A Town Hall (It’s more of a City office)
– A Mosque
and a few others…
This city information is useful for those who wish to move here with families, though I would not really recommend that, as it entails lot of hardships. Finding an apartment or a house is like waiting in cue for six to seven months. I myself, when I came here, had to take help from a teacher of mine, May Allah grant him full rewards, Amin.